HOW ironic that the most fun you can have on the PS Vita this year comes from playing with paper. From the same stable that brought us the genre-shattering (and uber-quirky) Little Big Planet, Tearaway is the game Sony should have insisted be ready at the Vita’s dawn.
Instead, it’s taken almost two years since launch for a title that entertainingly showcases the distinctive capabilities of the handheld, from its rear touchpad to its front camera and microphone.
Tearaway mines a similarly kooky cartoonish world as that of LBP, except that this planet and everything on it is fashioned from paper. It gives life to a delightfully vivid landscape, like something from a stop-motion studio.
Built around a fairly standard platformer, Tearaway nonetheless integrates the Vita’s powers in inventive ways.
Tapping your fingers on the rear pad sends a CGI digit jabbing up through the ground – to upend enemies or to send you flying to reach a high platform. At various points you’re asked to design objects (snowflakes, crowns, faces, etc) that become incorporated into the world. Sometimes, a snapshot of your surroundings is requested to give colour and pattern to a drab character.
Tearaway lacks the sheer depth of LBP and a short running time leaves you wanting more. But it's a hugely enjoyable romp for children and adults alike.
THREE outstanding installments of the BioShock universe taught us that games can be just as much about story as gameplay. Their portrayal of decadent societies decaying into chaos vividly created first a utopian underwater world and then a secessionist city in the sky.
This downloadable episode for Infinite cross-pollinates the DNA of both as the characters from the sky are inexplicably transplanted to the seabed city, just before anarchy breaks loose.
Frankly, the plot won’t make sense to anyone but long-time aficionados of the series. Yet in typical BioShock style, Episode 1 is stuffed with gobsmacking tableaux - ornate art deco locations and insane/murderous misfits abound.
Wandering from room to room slackjawed at the scenes distracts from the less satisfying combat – which fails to develop over Ep 1’s brief storyline. But then BioShock always emphasised the who and the why over the how.
Burial at Sea is a diverting departure from Infinite but fails to convince it’s a fully developed chapter of the series.
STRIP away the elaborate pantomime surrounding WWE and you’re still left with a carefully choreographed fake fight between two burly blokes.
So how do you represent that in a game? The question has never been adequately answered but WWE 2K14 nods in that direction with its expanded nostalgia mode called 30 Years of Wrestlemania.
If you complete certain moves during famous fights, brief cut-scenes kick in to replay moments from WWE history. It’s briefly amusing, though mostly because of the fun of revisiting old warhorses such as Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
At its ageing core, 2K14 is the same game we’ve played for several years, all clunky animations, repeating commentary and ugly visuals. If you can stomach the over-reliance on counter-attacks, there’s plenty to do in the various modes but WWE needs some new moves for next year.